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Clarification on seized vessels

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Reference to our page one story ‘185 seized foreign vessels to be released’ published on September 12, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda says that he will take action to release multi day vessels that have been banned from fishing due to the violation of sea territories, within a week.

The clarification further says: The Vessel Monitoring Centre of the Ministry of Fisheries has observed continuous violations of Sea Territory by Multi-Day vessels that were engaging in fishing in the deep sea and suspended the fishing activities of more than 185 Multi-Day vessels that violated sea territories. The representatives of Multi-Day Vessel Owners Association met the Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda on September 4 and discussed this issue.

Expressing views, the representatives of Multi-Day Vessel Owner’s Association stated that they spend a lot of money to launch a multi-day vessel that go for fishing and the skipper and the helpers of that vessel try to harvest fish by any means in order to earn some money before coming back to the shore.

In such situations the result of less power supply. They may sail beyond the boundaries and harvest the aquatic resources otherwise they would not be able feed their families.

Expressing further views the representatives requested to release the vessels that have been banned from fishing after providing some reliefs and if they continued to commit that offence again the ministry could impose any punishment to the skipper of the vessel.

They pointed out that they would make aware of the skippers and the helps in this regard and if the same offence in committed again the ministry could take legal action against to these offenders.

Expressing views the Minister of fisheries stated that the monitoring of all the multi-day vessels by VMS system is carried out according the international rules and regulations and if the ministry doesn’t take actions against the vessels that violate the rules, there are possibilities to impose permanent ban on such vessels by the IOTC. The Minister added these measures are being taken to safeguard the fishing industry and that the fishermen and he believes that the Corporation and support of the fishermen is very important. We cannot cause the destruction of our fishing industry by the actions of certain offensive vessels.

It is our duty to protect this industry which brings foreign exchange into the country. Out of the many vessels that have been banned from fishing some have already been released.

The Minister stated that he would make a thorough study in this regard and take measures to release that rest of the vessels in due course and the necessary draft act is being prepared to impose six months ban on the vessels that violate the rules and regulations.

Fisheries Department Director General Susantha Kahawatta and Fisheries Department officials including Ministry Secretary Indu Rathnayake and Fishermen’s Association representatives attended the meeting.

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